x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Dubai to introduce food-safety code

The comprehensive guidelines will unify the patchwork of food-safety guidelines under one umbrella, and may come into force this month.

DUBAI // Dubai is introducing a comprehensive food code with new rules on handling non-halal food, sources of products and handling of customer complaints.

It will unify the patchwork of food-safety guidelines under one umbrella.

"In the past maybe there were guidelines here and there, but now we'll have one system," said Asia Abdulwahab, the municipality's head of food studies and planning.

"The inspectors will have a legal tool to be able to quote the clause and let people know what they are in violation of."

Ms Abdulwahab was speaking yesterday at a food-inspection conference at Gulfood, the region's largest food industry event, at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Every section of the code will be accompanied by an explanation to help people understand what their breaches entail, and the consequences.

"In many food codes, they only give you the law and not the rationale," Ms Abdulwahab said.

"But now there will be an explanation and that way the industry will be educated. When you know the reason behind something, you will stick to it."

The project started in 2009, when the municipality began collecting local and international references, guidelines and best practices in food safety.

Two years later it matched Dubai's regulations with overseas guidelines, and last year reviewed and updated the food code's content. It is expected to be issued this month.

Workshops will be held until June to introduce the code. It will cover licensing, bacteria control, cleaning, maintenance, personal hygiene and training.

There will also be details about the import and export of food, and procedures for handling non-halal food, tracing and recalling products and how to handle customer complaints.